GTD Simplicity

I never thought of using it before, but now I am in love! Google Tasks within Gmail makes organizing my tasks super easy by simply just listing them! <BOOM> Mind blown!!!

I used to think I needed really sophisticated and featureful software to manage my todo’s and projects, but the reality is that putting all the work into managing the tasks takes away from the energy and the effort to actually get the task done!

One thing I am taking advantage of is the Google Tasks extension, which is pretty much an iFrame of the same Google Tasks list in the Gmail window. That keeps things simple, but much more accessible too.

The goal now is just to do tasks in the order that they come in without worrying too much about which task to do and delaying everything that is on my list! Unless of course something absolutely critical comes up, then I’ll have to re-prioritize, but on a typical day my new GTD strategy will just be “Start from the top”.

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Chrome OS

I have successfully convinced myself that I could get by in the Post-PC world using solely an iPad as my primary device. This was a good learning experience and I know now that I could easily get away with spending $499 on an iPad versus $1,299 on a MacBook Pro. 

    How does being a platform agnostic technologist work in this world of mobile/tablet devices that are bounded to an ecosystem of app stores?

    With iOS I am getting by with all of the Google based apps. Likewise, on Android those apps are stock, so nothing to worry about there. On the desktop I have learned that everything I ever need can be obtained by simply installing the Google Chrome browser. 

    If I can get everything I need from a browser, then why couldn’t I get by with Chrome OS? There are many hardware options with Chrome OS with price tags ranging from $199 to $1,299. I still have my Google Chromebook CR-48 prototype, but it is so old and slow. It probably won’t even run the latest version of Chrome OS, so I am going to look online and research some of the different options out there. 

    Fedora 23

    I have been reading through a number of my older articles and a couple of things stood out. There are multiple “I am back again!” posts, which just means I am insane and can’t stay away from plagtechism.

    A second thing was my previous attempts to use Linux as my primary OS. These experiments were cool and even though I ultimately came back to OS X I want to try it again with Fedora 23.

    I have my SSH keys setup properly and ready to use with my jump host, the git server, and my knife environment is all good to go for Chef.

    This time around I have opted to use Google Chrome as my browser of choice for both work and personal browsing. I like being able to switch between the two profiles in one browser whereas Firefox currently only lets you sync with one account.

    One of the reasons I think my previous attempts failed is because I would was using a really old Dell D420 that was a slow Core2Duo with 2GB’s of RAM. I no longer have that laptop and now have the Dell E6430, which has a Core i7, 8GB’s of RAM, and an SSD.

    Screenshot from 2015-11-22 11-55-13

    I Have My Knickers in a Twist

    I just can’t decide! Less than two weeks after switching to Gmail services, as a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 purchase was imminent, I am now lusting over Outlook.com again!

    The reason being, and this probably comes from my Apple ways, is that I just like nicely done and well finished products. Google has all the features I need on a daily basis: Email, Contacts, Calendars, Online Storage to name a few, but to use them they’re just so “meh!”.

    Outlook.com on the other hand is very tidy with it’s simplistic design, even better than iCloud.com in my opinion. I think iCloud.com has gone too far (I’m sure Jony Ive would disagree) and there is just too much white space for my liking. I see parts of iOS 7 are the same too, it just feels so empty.

    I’m not going to make a brash switch to Outlook.com just yet, as I want to do some more research and planning to see how switching to Outlook.com affects me for the other things I use e.g. mobile devices and Linux.

    In other news I have decided to start using Firefox again in conjunction with Xmarks for bookmark syncing. The reason for this decision is based on being able to use Xmarks across any browser without having to worry about syncing my bookmarks specifically with Gmail or iCloud based on whether I use Chrome or Safari, and in this case where it works really well, a completely different browser that has no ties to Google or Apple.

    Lastly, I have been running Windows 8.1 Preview natively on my HP Pavilion dm4 this week and so far I really like it, especially the ability to snap two “metro” apps side-by-side, which comes in handy. They have also brought back the Start button, which doesn’t act like the Start button from Windows 7 and older versions. It works the same way as hitting the Windows key on your keyboard, but apparently a lot of people were very upset with Microsoft over it’s removal as it wasn’t so obvious on how you could get back to “metro” mode, which is no longer called metro due to some lawsuit, so forgive me…

    What I use

    I just got back from a long weekend trip by the coast. The lodge that we stayed in was very nice, but the WiFi was so slow that I think a carrier pigeon would have been a more effective way of communicating to the outside world. 

    It was so bad in fact that I left my laptop in my bag and decided to use my iPhone and the Verizon 3G network. This was OK, but certain social networking apps were still really slow and the native mail client was pretty dismal. 

    What I ended up doing was installing Google’s native apps for Search, Gmail, Chrome and Drive. I already had Google Maps installed, which as of late has completely replaced my Magellan car GPS device. 

    For some reason the Google apps over 3G were far more responsive than the native iOS mail app, SkyDrive, and the Firefox Home browser sync app, which I used in conjunction with the Safari browser.

    Perhaps Google has some special QoS deal with Verizon or maybe Google’s technology and services is just far more superior than anything else out there? Who knows… Whatever the case, using Google’s services provided a much more optimal experience in these diabolical low bandwidth situations. 

    Fortunately, I still had my notes file on my Google Drive folder, which contained a number of things we did the last time we were in the area over a year ago. Searching with the Google app and browsing with Chrome made looking up reviews of restaurants and places to go so much easier. My bookmarks were somewhat outdated, as I have been using Firefox for some time now, but for the most part all of my most important bookmarked items were still synced via my Gmail account. 

    As you can imagine, this was a turning point. A full 180 degrees, and without having to repeat myself again I will refer you to a previous blog post of mine on April 24th called Google the Great!

    The only differences now are:

    Desktop OS = Mac OS X 10.8.3 Moutain Lion
    Mobile OS = iOS 6.1.3
    Mail, Contacts, and Calendars = Google
    Tasks / To-do’s = Google
    Online Storage = Google Drive
    Browser = Google Chrome
    Bookmark Sync = Google Chrome

     

    I’ve been bitten by the PAT bug again!

    So much for NFP syndrome! I guess it’s in my nature to never stick to just one thing, as in one device, one set of software, or a single platform.

    I have continued to use Windows 8 on a daily basis at work on a dedicated PC with a quad-core i7, 8GB’s or RAM, and a 21″ monitor. This is the setup that I use all day and rarely ever touch my MacBook Pro.

    When I am home I use the MacBook Pro with OS X, as the symbiotic relationship between the hardware and software results in uber battery life. It is unbelievably superior compared to running Windows 8 in power saver mode on both the same MacBook Pro or on an HP Pavilion laptop.

    The fact that I am now switching between Mac@Home and PC@Work has rekindled my desire to continue the pursuit for PAT bliss!

    This time I am taking a different approach with an emphasis on separating work and play. How do I plan to do this? Read on…

    Whether I am on Windows 8 or Mac OS X I have specifically chosen a set of applications that can be used for both work or personal use on the same machine, so if I don’t happen to have my MacBook Pro at hand I can still look up any relevant personal information on my work PC. Here is the breakdown:

    Browser:
    Work = Google Chrome
    Home = Firefox
    Mobile = Firefox Home
    Both Chrome & Firefox support decent bookmark syncing that works cross platform. As for Firefox Home on iPhone, this is being used purely to sync open tabs and history etc. However, as it is not a fully fledged browser I have configured it to launch Safari when I do select a bookmark that I want to open.

    File sharing:
    Work = Box
    Home = SkyDrive

    Mail, Contacts, and Calendars:
    Work = Outlook 2010, Mail.app, and Gmail.com
    Home = Outlook.com
    The reason I have chosen Outlook.com for home use is because it ties in so beautifully with SkyDrive, which is something I can simply not give up!

    GTD:
    Work = Pen and Paper (literally!)
    Home = Reminders
    Yes, I kid you not! For work I have gone back to the traditional use of a biro and piece of tree shaving. As for using Reminders, which is strictly an iOS app, the reason I can get away with using this for now is that my iPhone is always within arms reach and doubles up as a really friggin’ awesome PDA! Because it syncs with my Outlook.com calendar I can view my reminders via the Outlook.com website if I really needed to, but for the most part that will not be necessary.